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A new ‘atlas’ maps out Geneva’s digital policy scene

Aerial view of Geneva, taken by drone. The Digital Atlas Geneva also features an interactive map that pinpoints the region's digital policy actors. (Photo: Keystone/Leandre Duggan)

“You can’t use an old map to explore a new world,” said Geneva state councillor, Nathalie Fontanet, quoting Albert Einstein, at the launch on Monday of a new map of a different kind: one that illustrates Geneva’s digital policy scene. 

Created by the DiploFoundation and the Geneva Internet Platform (GIP), Geneva Digital Atlas is a who’s who of the region’s different organisations and the digital policy issues.

Powered by AI analyses of documents and instruments, the atlas aims to increase awareness around Geneva’s digital landscape and encourage collaboration between the different actors on critical topics ranging from data protection to security and human rights.

“The idea was to take a picture at this moment in time and see which actor is doing what when it comes to digital in Geneva,” said Marco Lotti, GIP project manager, at the online launch, which was attended by delegates including Fontanet, ambassador Jürg Lauber, Switzerland’s permanent representative to the United Nations (UN), Tatiana Valovaya, director-general of the UN in Geneva, and GIP head Jovan Kurbalija.

“One of the major challenges, and this is also highlighted in the UN secretary-general’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, is cross-fertilisation and bridging - or breaking - policy silos. This is not easy, but we still wanted to address this and ultimately to connect the dots among what are incubators of expertise here in Geneva,” he added.

The tool provides executive summaries and an in-depth coverage of the activities of more than 40 organisations, such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Africa Civil Society on the Information Society (ACSIS), or the ICT 4 Peace foundation. It features 40 different policy areas, which are classified under seven sections including technology, infrastructure, legal and human rights.

“Geneva’s diverse ecosystem has long made it the place where digital innovation has flourished,” said Valovaya. “However, for outsiders, grasping the extensive digital policy landscape of the ecosystem is a daunting task.”

She added: “The atlas perfectly fills that gap by connecting the dots across policy silos, from security and the economy to standardisation, human rights and many other areas. It shows how, where and by whom digital policy is used in International Geneva and it will greatly contribute to a more inclusive digital ecosystem.”

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